While any politician, political party, or PAC worth its salt would be more than happy to receive your support in the form of cash or check, monetary gifts aren't the only donation recognized by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Fundraiser tickets, loans, office supplies, and even t-shirts can be considered campaign contributions. Any goods or services provided to a candidate or political committee goes against your $117,000 biennial contribution cap and is subject to the individual committee limits. If you're hanging onto your hard-earned cash but still want to find ways to help out your candidate, here are some things to know about other kinds of campaign contributions that will help you keep your support on the straight-and-narrow.
Donated Items and Services
Donations of supplies, furniture, business services, or anything else of value is considered an in-kind contribution, and the value of these items counts against the FEC's contribution limits. If, as a business owner, you offer a discount to a candidate or committee, then the amount of that discount will be considered a contribution.
Hosting a fundraiser in itself is not considered a campaign contribution, but expenses associated with those events are — if they exceed $1,000 for events that benefit a candidate or $2,000 for fundraisers benefiting a committee. If you purchase a ticket to a fundraiser, the cost of that ticket is deemed a contribution, even if the cost of the food and beverages you consume there is less than the ticket price. And the FEC even counts the purchase of a t-shirt as a campaign donation if the proceeds of that transaction benefit a campaign.
If you loan money to a campaign — even if you charge interest on that loan — then the amount that you lend is considered a contribution. As the candidate or committee pays you back, the contribution amount also decreases. But keep in mind that the amount you loan cannot exceed the contribution limits designated by the FEC.